RAC urges Welsh councils to repair potholes

The RAC has called on local authorities to repair potholes and maintain a high road quality standard, in order to save on compensation costs.

Official figures show that Welsh authorities spent more than £30 million in paying compensation in five years after accidents caused by potholes, and filling in potholes after receiving complaints.

The RAC advised that fixing the road fissures as soon as they were notices would save a significant amount of money.

A freedom of information (FoI) request submitted by the Newyddion 9 programme yielded responses from 18 out of 22 Welsh councils. The data revealed that in the period between 1010-2015, Swansea council and Ceredigion council spent over £5 million in compensation and filling in potholes after complaints from the public.

Ed Evans from the RAC said: "Over the last 10 years we've had twice the number of callouts from people who've had an accident after hitting a pothole.

"Every year the number of people reporting accidents due to potholes has increased.

"Instead of just doing panic patch repairs, councils need a programme of replacing our roads to a high standard and keeping it to a high standard.

"Sorting it out at the beginning is the answer. If you let it (a pothole) go until the end of the year, you'll get one big claim after an accident and they still have to repair it, and the cost is much much higher than if you repair it when the problems first appear."

A Welsh Local Government Association (LGA) spokesman said: "Performance figures over recent years suggest that a reducing percentage of Wales' road network is actually deemed to be in a poor condition, which is a remarkable achievement by councils when considered against the extreme pressures being placed on local budgets."

He added: "Finding the level of funds required to maintain our roads is a significant challenge in such a climate, especially when overall public spending on roads and transport has reduced by 22 per cent after adjusting for inflation since the onset of UK austerity."